Questions & Answers

ABOUT NOMIS
What are the NOMIS Foundation’s mission, vision and values?
What are the foundation’s long-term goals?
Where does the NOMIS Foundation get its funding?
Who runs the foundation, and how does it operate?
ABOUT THE KIND OF PROGRAMS NOMIS SUPPORTS
What areas interest the foundation, and what kinds of projects does it fund?
What does NOMIS not fund?
Why does NOMIS place such a strong emphasis on people?
What are the criteria and process for project selection?
What is the level of funding, and for how long?
Does NOMIS take a proprietary interest in the results of its research programs?
What conditions are attached to NOMIS funding?
How does NOMIS measure a program’s success?
ABOUT NOMIS INSTITUTIONS, RESEARCHERS & FELLOWS
What kinds of institutions does NOMIS work with, and how are they chosen?
What are the qualities and criteria that characterize NOMIS researchers?
What kind of relationship does NOMIS maintain with its grant recipients?
The Foundation talks about becoming a “platform for connecting and supporting” its community of institutions, researchers and Fellows. What does this mean exactly?
CONTACT AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Where is the NOMIS Foundation located?
Where can I learn more about the results of NOMIS’ research projects?
How do we bring to NOMIS’ attention unique, innovative, worthy projects and programs?
How can I help?

ABOUT NOMIS
What are the NOMIS Foundation’s mission, vision and values?
NOMIS is a private Swiss foundation supporting insight-driven scientific endeavors across all disciplines, with a unique emphasis on researchers, their openness to new ideas, their pioneering spirit and their potential to inspire the world around them. NOMIS’ vision is to “create a spark” in the world of science by funding highly innovative, groundbreaking research in the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Research is our passion. Insight is our reward. People are our inspiration.
What are the foundation’s long-term goals?
NOMIS’ primary objective is to fill funding gaps in basic research over a range of many disciplines and to enable outstanding researchers to take the next step(s) in their respective research projects. NOMIS does not strive for funding exclusivity, but rather expects its grant recipients to identify additional or new funding sources for the continuation of their research. In addition, we seek to develop a global community of dedicated NOMIS researchers and scientists across all disciplines, encompassing collaborative research activities or other initiatives, such as symposia, conferences and joint publications.
Where does the NOMIS Foundation get its funding?
NOMIS is a private, not-for-profit Swiss foundation. Its funding is based on a private endowment in excess of CHF 100,000,000 – and on additional annual contributions raised from private sources.
Who runs the foundation, and how does it operate?
NOMIS is governed by its board of directors, which consists of world-renowned scientists, scholars and experts in their respective fields. The board defines the vision and strategy of NOMIS, reviews grant nominations, communicates with NOMIS grant recipients and researchers and works to ensure that all NOMIS-funded programs meet the highest possible standards of professional and scientific excellence. The management of NOMIS is overseen by its managing director, who represents and leads NOMIS in all its activities and engagements. Due to its holistic and cross-disciplinary approach, NOMIS does not have scientific subcommittees or specialized advisory boards. Nominations for research projects, awards and partnerships are reviewed and evaluated by the NOMIS board. This straightforward and non-bureaucratic approach is critical to our goal of connecting researchers across all disciplines and is one way in which we hope to open up new fields of exploration and achieve fresh insight into old problems.

ABOUT THE KIND OF PROGRAMS NOMIS SUPPORTS
What areas interest the foundation, and what kinds of projects does it fund?
NOMIS’ first priority is the support of innovative, basic and foundational research across all scientific disciplines. This may take the form of cutting-edge research projects for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease or gaining new insights into ALS. We also support work that furthers a fact-based understanding of the interdependencies of complex water, food and energy systems or that helps create a common research platform for scholars and philosophers from different cultural backgrounds and traditions.
  • NOMIS supports only those research programs that are based on common, acknowledged ethical values and principles.
  • The results of NOMIS-funded research programs must be shared widely throughout the scientific community and made publicly available.
What does NOMIS not fund?
  • NOMIS does not support translational, developmental or applied research and projects.
  • NOMIS does not support any form of non-research-related programs or projects (social welfare, charity, culture and art, community work, education, etc.).
  • The NOMIS Foundation and its goals and activities are strictly nonpolitical, nonideological and nonreligious. We do not support any kind of political, ideological or religious engagement, activism, proselytizing or any similar activities.
  • NOMIS does not support research projects whose primary goal is commercialization, monetary profit or patent protection. On the contrary, all results of NOMIS-funded research projects must be made freely and publicly available.
Why does NOMIS place such a strong emphasis on people?
NOMIS is interested in building personal relationships with all the researchers it supports – in an effort to develop a global network of open-minded, world-class scientists and scholars. We try to support researchers who enjoy looking across boundaries and thinking outside the box and who are interested in building a better world and making a difference in people’s lives through new, innovative approaches in research. The excellence and potential of researchers and scientists are crucial factors in NOMIS’ funding decisions. We consider these qualities just as important as the scientific quality and approach of the research projects themselves. NOMIS only works with research institutions that share the same vision and that truly provide an environment supportive of free, groundbreaking research.
What are the criteria and process for project selection?
The key criteria used by NOMIS in selecting projects are the:
  • Novelty of the project
  • Quality and excellence of the science
  • Excellence of the research approach
  • Readiness of the grant nominee to identify with NOMIS’ vision and values
  • Willingness to become an engaged member of the NOMIS community
All grant nominations are reviewed, evaluated and preselected by the managing director. Depending on the size of the request, preselected projects are reviewed by the NOMIS board of directors and either approved or rejected according to carefully defined criteria and evaluation process. The foundation currently operates without any fixed nomination deadlines, and proposals are reviewed on an ongoing basis.
What is the level of funding, and for how long?
The level of funding varies based on the nature and needs of the specific research project. NOMIS looks at all nominations individually and does not exclude proposals above or below certain funding thresholds as long as they are aligned with NOMIS’ funding principles and selection criteria.
Does NOMIS take a proprietary interest in the results of its research projects?
No. However, all results of NOMIS-funded research projects must be made publicly available by the grant recipients.
What conditions are attached to NOMIS funding?
In addition to the previously mentioned selection criteria and expectations, NOMIS places strong emphasis on the novelty and high standards of the research program and on the willingness of the researchers, scientists or scholars to connect and engage with NOMIS and the NOMIS community in order to share insights and ideas and to help “create sparks” in new areas and fields of exploration. NOMIS funding is based on a formal agreement between NOMIS and the grant recipient that outlines all terms and conditions in detail.
How does NOMIS measure a program’s success?
Insight is our reward – every new insight gained by a NOMIS-supported research project advances human knowledge, opens new doors and encourages new discoveries. In order to measure the success of the projects we support, we ask the following questions:
  • Did we create a spark?
  • Did the project change the scientific field in question?
  • Is there an impact on science and/or people?
  • Did we discover something unexpected?
  • Are there unintended consequences?
  • Will the project be continued based on new or alternate funding?

ABOUT NOMIS INSTITUTIONS, RESEARCHERS & FELLOWS
What kinds of institutions does NOMIS work with, and how are they chosen?
NOMIS only works with institutions that share a similar spirit and vision. These are institutions that provide a research environment that is free and open and which actively encourages the development of world-class, open-minded researchers who demonstrate a willingness to look outside their own specialized fields.
What are the qualities and criteria that characterize NOMIS researchers?
NOMIS researchers, scientists and scholars are characterized by their outstanding scientific background and track record, and their broad interest and open mindedness in looking across scientific boundaries and exploring new fields. They are curious and ready to undertake new high-risk research by connecting the usual with the unexpected. And finally, they are eager to engage with the broader community of NOMIS researchers from other disciplines and countries.
What kind of relationship does NOMIS maintain with its grant recipients?
The foundation talks about becoming a platform for connecting and supporting its community of institutions, researchers and Fellows. What exactly does this mean? NOMIS considers one of its most important objectives to act as a platform for sharing new ideas, questions and possibilities. To this end, NOMIS is developing communication tools, organizing special symposia, meetings and other forms of exchange and collaboration. The foundation actively encourages its researchers to work together and to collaborate on joint research projects, publications and initiatives. Additionally, NOMIS hopes that relations with its scientists, researchers and scholars evolve and grow stronger over time, independent from and long after actual NOMIS funding has ended. In addition to exchanging written reports and other communications, NOMIS grant recipients may also be invited to board meetings to present their work and results in person.

CONTACT AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Where is the NOMIS Foundation located?
NOMIS is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.
Where can I learn more about the results of NOMIS’ research projects?
NOMIS reports research results, awards and new initiatives under the “News” section on this website.
How do we bring to NOMIS’ attention unique, innovative, worthy projects and programs?
Please write to us at: contact@nomisfoundation.ch
How can I help?
Please write to us at: contact@nomisfoundation.ch